Humana and Accenture are boosting their commitment to the fight against childhood obesity by collaborating with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, to provide comprehensive health benefits for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of childhood obesity.
Humana will be working with select employers, including the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (Humana’s largest commercial customer) to offer the benefit and study the results.
As part of its Live Well at Accenture initiative, Accenture will adopt the childhood obesity benefit recommended by the Alliance. Accenture will also work with the Alliance to explore additional communication and engagement approaches for its employees and their families around this issue
President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, who co-leads the Alliance with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and American Heart Association President Clyde Yancy, lauded the companies while encouraging other insurers and employers to join the commitment to the health and well being of children.
“To combat the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, we need to encourage innovative healthcare solutions,” said President Clinton. “Since launching these benefits through the Alliance Healthcare Initiative one year ago, more than 1.5 million children have gained access to these important services and Humana and Accenture’s commitment will bring us closer to our goal of reaching approximately 6.2 million children.”
The Alliance Healthcare Initiative marked the first time national medical associations, leading insurers, and employers have collaborated to combat childhood obesity. Eligible children have access to at least four follow up visits with their primary care provider and at least four visits with a registered dietitian per year (which, depending on the carrier, may occur through the physician’s practice). These healthcare professionals work with children and their families on how to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“As a nation, we have to get ahead of the crushing burden of preventable chronic disease. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and by joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthcare Initiative, Humana will be able to help make treatment more available to children and their families,” said Michael B. McCallister, President and CEO of Humana.
“In addition to providing this benefit to our employees as part of our overall wellness initiative, we are working with the Alliance to help accelerate understanding and broader adoption of the various Alliance programs,” said Stephen J. Rohleder, group chief executive of Accenture’s Health & Public Service operating group.
Recommendations released in January from the US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care, spotlight the importance of screening children ages 6 to 18 years for obesity and clinicians referring patients as appropriate to programs to improve their weight status. These recommendations are aligned with the benefits the Alliance Healthcare Initiative offers children and their families.
In addition to brokering and implementing voluntary agreements with insurers and employers, the Alliance Healthcare Initiative is committed to informing the science base around effective clinical solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. To that end, the Alliance selected Emory University’s Institute for Advance Policy Solutions to conduct a process and outcomes evaluation of the Initiative.
“By joining this Initiative, not only are Humana and Accenture providing groundbreaking health benefits; they are also participating in critical data collection and analysis,” said Clyde Yancy, MD, president of the American Heart Association and medical director for Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute and chief of cardiothoracic transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center. “By evaluating the implementation of clinical processes and the health outcomes delivered, we will be able to determine the most effective method for clinically combating childhood obesity.”
In addition to Humana and Accenture, the Alliance Healthcare Initiative participants include: Aetna, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dietetic Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, PepsiCo and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Aetna has recruited several employers to participate including Paychex. The American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation also offer this benefit to their employees.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.